The Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee (IC) of Russia charged in absentia the Ukrainian nationalist Yaroslav Gunko (Hunki) from Canada with genocide of civilians during the Great Patriotic War (WWII) on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR. About it reported press service of the department.
A criminal case was initiated under Art. 357 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (genocide), which provides for punishment from 12 to 20 years in prison or life imprisonment. The Investigative Committee clarified that the issue of putting him on the international wanted list and arresting him in absentia is being decided. The agency sent requests for legal assistance to Canada, Poland and Belarus.
With reference to documents from the State Archive of the Russian Federation and the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense, the Investigative Committee notes that a native of the village of Uman of the Second Polish Republic, Gunko, in April 1943, became part of the 14th SS Volunteer Infantry Division “Galicia”. The department indicates that Gunko, together with other members of the unit, from February 23 to February 28, 1944, in the village of Guta Penyatskaya (former village of the Lvov region of the Ukrainian SSR), on the orders of the commanders, killed at least 500 Soviet citizens. Among the dead were Jews and Poles. The Investigative Committee clarifies that people were shot, burned in houses and churches, which violates the Convention on the Laws and Customs of War on Land.
On September 22, Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota invited Gunko to a meeting of the Canadian Parliament with the participation of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. The SS veteran was presented as a war hero and honored with applause. Rota later apologized “to every Holocaust survivor and World War II veteran” and then resigned. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking in the House of Commons, called the incident a disgrace “for all of Canada” and also apologized to Zelensky and the Ukrainian delegation “for the position in which they were placed.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin noted, that if Rota knew that Hunka fought on the side of Hitler, and at the same time called him a hero of Ukraine and a hero of Canada, “then he is a scoundrel.” The Russian President honoring Khunka himself named “savagery”. Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov notedthat the Canadian authorities are obliged to extradite and bring Gunko to justice.